Some Real Talk About Building Muscular Strength

Why do you want to build muscular strength?  Simple.  Because you want to become better.  Mark Rippetoe says it best.  “Strong people are harder to kill than weak people and more useful in general.” 

With that said, let’s talk about how to build muscular strength.

The first thing you need to do is to determine which type of muscular strength you want to get.  If you already know, great!  You can skip down the page. 

If not, read the next section to gain some clarity. 

The Different Types Of Muscular Strength

Strength Training Continuum

In the former Soviet Union, much research was done on the overwhelming benefits of resistance training.  While back here in the United States, the main research emphasis was on endurance training. 

The Soviets discovered a strength training continuum, or spectrum, of muscular strength.

On one end of the spectrum, there was explosive muscular strength and on the other end there was absolute muscular strength.

Explosive muscular strength is how fast your muscles can contract to move resistance.

Absolute muscular strength is how much total weight your muscles can possibly lift.

Explosive muscular strength is commonly called relative strength and absolute muscular strength is commonly called absolute strength. 

It it totally and completely impossible for you to be all of one without the other. 

In other words, you have to pick which one of these two you want to train for.

For more info on the muscular strength continuum be sure to check out THIS ARTICLE from Strength And Conditioning Research. 

Training For Explosive (Relative) Muscular Strength

Box Jumps Relative Strength

If your goal is to become as fast as possible, burn fat, speed training or to excel with calisthenics.  Explosive muscular strength is your goal. 

Relative strength measures how strong you are relative to your bodyweight.  If you have more power than you do bodyweight, then you will have high relative strength. 

With that said, probably one of the easiest ways to gain relative strength is to simply lose body fat.

Related:  How To Lose Body Fat

The less you weight, the less weight you have to move.  Simple as that.

Your workouts will have to be different than your typical bodybuilder workouts.  You will need to lift moderate to heavy weights for 1-3 reps as fast as possible. 

You will also need to perform more repetitions with your exercises.  These repetitions should be as explosive as possible. 

Here is a typical explosive muscular strength workout:

  • Clapping Push Ups 4 sets 2-3 reps
  • Dumbbell Bench Press 5 sets 3-5 reps (heavy)
  • Bodyweight dips 3-4 sets 8-10 reps
  • Chest Flys 4 sets 10-12 reps
  • Smith Machine 3 reps (Every Minute On The Minute) 60% 1RM

That’s it!  Just 5 exercises!

A simple workout like this one will get you incredible results in as little as 1 hour out of your day. 

Training For Absolute Muscular Strength

Deadlift Absolute Strength

If your goal is to pack on as much muscle as possible, boost your bench press, increase your squat or build your deadlift, training for absolute strength is your goal.

Absolute strength measures how much strength you can lift for a single solitary repetition.  It is completely independent of bodyweight.  This is why powerlifters and strongman competitors are so heavy. 

Now I’m not saying that you need to gain 100 lbs and start pushing cars down the street.  But I am saying that if you want to build absolute muscular strength, you need to be prepared to gain at least an extra 10 lbs. 

A period of weight gain is often called a bulk.  But a bulk should be done with clean foods ONLY!  Not junk food. 

With this type of training, you want to train moderate to heavy with a high amount of volume in your sets.  This helps to make your muscles bigger by increasing the time under tension. 

It also conditions your muscles to lift heavy weight without becoming too fatigued. 

Here is a sample absolute muscular strength training workout:

  • Bench Press 5 sets 5 reps
  • J-M Press 3 sets 6-8 reps
  • Lying Triceps Extensions 3 sets 10-15 reps
  • Arnold Press 4 sets 8-10 reps
  • Cable Flys 2-3 sets 15-20 reps

A workout like this will provide plenty of volume for your muscles to get bigger and stronger in a 1 hour workout. 

Benefits & Crossover Of Absolute And Explosive Muscular Strength

No matter which one you choose to go with you will get a tremendous amount of benefits from either. 

Explosive Muscular Strength:

  • Increase Speed
  • Increase Athleticism
  • Build More Real World Strength
  • Protect Yourself From Injury
  • Lose More Body Weight
  • Helps You Build Absolute Strength

Absolute Muscular Strength:

  • Gain Muscle Mass
  • Bigger Squat
  • Bench Press More Weight
  • Builds Your Deadlift
  • Strengthens Tendons And Ligaments
  • Helps You Build More Explosive Strength

If you take a look at both of these lists, do you notice anything they have in common?

Take a careful look and you will see that the last bullet point on each of the lists describes how both of these two strengths helps relate to one another. 

That’s right! 

Both absolute and relative muscular strength help each other out. 

This means that you should train them both.  But here is how you do it, train for three months with an emphasis on explosive strength, then train for the next 3 months with an emphasis on absolute strength. 

You will be training both ALL YEAR.  This really is the best way to build more muscular strength. 

Conclusion

If you follow the advice that I give you in this article, then you will be well on your way to gaining all of the muscular strength you will need for a lifetime. 

You will crush your competition and make progress faster than you can imagine. 

But….

You will still need to put the work in and get the job done.  Nothing great EVER comes easy.  As much as we all wish it would, it’s not going to change. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to building muscular strength.  There is so much potential out there being left to waste. 

No more wasting away.  You have the information you need in this article, all you need to do is get out there and make it happen.

Go get it! 


Tony G
Tony G

Anthony is a fan of all things gym related. Growing up very overweight and out of shape, Anthony whipped himself into shape and stunned his entire community becoming a "fitness guru". Tony then set his sights on strength sports (Weightlifting/Powerlifting/Strongman) and learned all about body mechanics, mobility work and injury prevention. Tony found his true love in the strength sports, particularly Olympic Weightlifting. He earned a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree from Fitchburg State University in Exercise and Sports Science. He is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the NSCA.

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